India is one of the most diverse countries in the world. While the cultural diversity is impeccable, the varied landscapes are truly mind-blowing. With high-altitude mountains, mesmerising oceans and vibrant cities, India has so much to offer the travellers. Since it is so rich in heritage and natural beauty, it is one of the most popular countries for travellers. However, travelling to India which is the biggest democracy in the world comes with its own set of DOs and DON’Ts.
Here is a set of tips for travellers travelling to India for the first time:
1. Eat cautiously
India is a melting pot of cultures, which also means that several cuisines thrive in the country. While Indian food is extremely delicious, the local specialties in some parts of the country made be hard to handle. If you’re travelling to the North East or to Punjab, be careful while eating foods like local chillies or heavy carbs like kulchas(type of Indian bread). Carry a small batch of protein bars or buy fruits from the market the first couple of days so that you allow your body to get used to the food.
2. Always carry extra cash
While India’s metro cities are worth visiting, it is the small villages that are the real gems. Hence, if you’re travelling to India, you must explore these tiny villages. But when you’re travelling to such remote areas, you might not always find ATMs that are functional. Moreover, at places like village grocery stores and toll plazas, you might need extra cash as these places don’t accept cards. Hence, it is advisable to always carry some extra cash in case of emergency. Scout My Trip’s planner always shows you the estimated cost of toll booths on your route.
Another option would be to use apps like Google pay or Paytm that will take care of cash free transactions.
3. Bargain before you buy
India’s bustling bazaars are definitely worth experiencing if you’re travelling to India. From clothes to jewellery and from footwear to accessories, you will find everything at reasonable prices. However, bargaining is common and at times, a necessary practice in Indian markets. If you’re shopping from the streets, you must negotiate with the sellers in order to get a good deal for the products!
4. Dress accordingly, when you’re at religious places
India boasts of some of the most beautiful temples in the world. Since the country is home to numerous castes and communities, each of them have their own norms and customs. It is therefore better to know the dress code of a particular place before visiting it. The standard custom when you visit most of the temples and mosques is that the travellers travelling to India must cover themselves and dress carefully in order to avoid hurting any sentiments.
5. Get used to the crowd and the chaos
If you’re travelling to India and visiting cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata or going to tourist favourites like Varanasi or Rishikesh, be prepared to walk through maddening crowds. While metropolitan cities offer lots of sights to tourists, you will have to make your way through traffic and the crowd in public transport in order to explore the city. In places like Haridwar, you will have to navigate through devotees and make your way to the religious sites. While it may feel overwhelming at first, within some time, you will get used to the crowd and it grows on you.
6. Slow down
India is the 7th largest country in the world and the entire country is full of sights to explore. However, it is impossible to cover all of India’s top sights in one visit. If you plan on doing too much, you might feel exhausted and might end up having a tiring trip. Instead, try selecting one region and exploring it at your own pace. Keep a couple of days as buffer time in case of any delay. While in India, embrace the joy of slow travel and do it leisurely.
If you keep these tips in mind while travelling to India, you are bound to have a great time. In addition to these suggestions, here are some helpline numbers in India that you can dial in case of emergency
112: All India Emergency Helpline Number
1090: Women’s Safety
Keep these numbers handy in case you need them while travelling in India. If you need help planning a trip to India, Hire a Scout to plan a holiday that is tailor made to your needs!